avatar tianjara.net | blog icon Andrew Harvey's Blog

My Mixed Views of a First Look at Windows 7
14th January 2009

So I decided try out the Microsoft Windows 7 Beta. Up until March 2008 I used Windows XP full time, at which point I switched to Ubuntu Linux full time so some of the things I will comment on here may have been introduced in Windows Vista not necessarily new in Windows 7.

The Installation

Scan Disk

I wouldn't say the installation was lightning fast, in fact I thought some parts were particularly slow, though I did not have to intervene much, there were not many settings to choose. One of the things I really liked was it found one of my NTFS partitions was corrupt and repaired it as best as possible. My previous attempts at using XP tools to repair it were unsuccessful, however now Windows will let me access the files on that drive where it previously had not. Even better, because this file system repair took so long I was not around when it completed but to my delight Windows had put the computer in standby for me.

Master Boot Record

An unfortunate but expected downside to the installation was it wiped my master boot record and replaced Grub with Window's boot loader. It would be better if it had asked me if I wanted my MBR overwritten, but it did not.

Automatic Updates

I was happy though that I was given a chance to turn off automatic updates. I don't think that any operating system or program (though I think the operating system should allow the user to choose if a certain program can access the internet and you should also be able to set a speed cap) should start downloading before you get a chance to decide if you want these automatic updates (some of us have download limits and an OS that uses it all on updates may leave the user with capped internet because of it).

First Glance

Silly Popups

The most annoying thing I have noticed so far is this silly pop up that keeps repeating the same message every 10 minutes or so. It keeps telling me that one of my hard drive partitions is running low on space. Dear Windows 7, I already knew this, it is not the drive that Windows is installed on, you have already told me this numerous times tonight, please stop annoying me with popups that never go away untill you click on them! Sure I can go into the settings and turn it off but its annoying to have to do that and it took me about 2 hours of closing these popups before I went in and disabled it.

An Unmounted Hard Drive Partition

One of my partitions was not mounted. I'm not sure why this happened by I had to go into the Computer Management tool to assign it a drive letter.

A Slightly Closer Look

Although I like being able to search the start menu, I'm not sure I like the compressed nature. I liked it when the list of programs filled the whole screen.

Window Management

Windows still seems to be lacking some of the cool and efficient window management features that Compiz Fusion offers.

The Taskbar

I really like the taskbar I even like it better than the default one used in Gnome. I choose the small icons and "combine when taskbar is full" option. Although aesthetics should not come in to play, I really like the look. Its modern, stylish and clean and a white (or orange if its the selected window) glow moves with your mouse. You can shuffle windows around something that couldn't be done in XP. Although this can be done in Gnome its not as aesthetically pleasing in my opinion.

File Explorer

I like the search box up the top right and I like the way the path is presented in the address bar where you can click any of the directories in the path to go to it or even get a drop down of the folders in that directory. If you want the path as a string to say copy it you can click the icon to the left of it to get a string that is already highlighted. One feature that Nautilus has that Windows 7 doesn't that I like is the box that appears when you start typing and the search it does.


In conclusion, there are many things that I am already starting to like about Windows 7, I'm sure I'll find more as this was only a quick look where I bearly scatched the surface, however there are still things I don't like (I'll leave those for another article) and still many tasks that are much easier done in Linux.